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Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology


Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1929–1946 by Allan Cornish

History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout

Four Years in the RAAF Meteorological Service by Keith Swan

The Bureau of Meteorology in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s by Col Glendinning
Brief History and Geography
Station Operations
Air Transport
The Port Moresby Office
Housing for Bureau Staff, Port Moresby
Staff Members and Their Families
Local Transport
Entertaining, Sport and Lifestyle
Shopping Facilities
Native Servants
Communication with Native Servants
Forecasting Problems in Port Moresby
Other Comments


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Foreword (continued)

Finding it difficult to obtain the place of his choice at the university at the time he desired he joined the Commonwealth Public Service and transferred to the Bureau of Meteorology as forecaster-in-training in September 1946. After some delay he, together with a number of ex-servicemen, was a member of the first post-war Weather Officers course in 1947, having spent some time in the Canberra aerodrome meteorological office becoming familiar with Weather Bureau routine. Colin remembers Harry Ashton as OIC Training, with Charlie James, Arthur Loftus and Kevin Lomas assisting.

Colin served for 38 years in the Bureau as an 'old-style' Weather Officer at offices in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Canberra, Darwin, Lae, Melbourne, Perth, Port Moresby and Sydney. When he first joined the Bureau, Colin had hopes of gaining a university degree in Science by part-time study but frequent transfers and shift-work made that impossible.

He served mainly as an aviation forecaster and recalls the early post-war days at Mascot when the meteorological staff were located in the old control tower building together with Operations, Area Control and Aeradio. This was the period of rapid development of aviation technology and, with the advent of pressurised aircraft, the workload of the meteorological office increased significantly with forecasts required for higher and higher altitudes and for an increasing number of aircraft movements.

Colin next worked at Essendon airport, near Melbourne, with Jack Nance as OIC. There followed a series of transfers which provided Colin with a variety of climates and weather conditions, each requiring new learning experiences.

He was particularly impressed by the smooth operation of the meteorological office at Perth Airport and the familiarisation procedure employed by the OIC, John Sylvester Maher, who took great pains to ensure that incoming forecasters were thoroughly briefed on their duties. He also found the duties at the Darwin aerodrome office particularly interesting.

Colin returned to Melbourne in the late 1960s and was involved in the move of the Meteorological Office from Essendon to Tullamarine and later, when aviation forecasting was transferred to Regional Offices, worked at the Melbourne Regional Forecasting Centre when Keith Hannay was Regional Director. Here he was involved in the trial of various systems for the provision of meteorological service to a rapidly developing aircraft industry.

People in Bright Sparcs - Ashton, Henry Tamblyn (Harry); Glendinning, Colin (Col); Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith); Lomas, K. C. (Kev)

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Cornish, A., Stout, R., Swan, K and Glendinning, C. 1996 'Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 8 February 1996, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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